Mother, Father and Newborn

What is a Doula?

A doula, also referred to as a labor assistant or monitrice, is a woman trained in labor and birth. She joins a woman early in labor and assists her with pain management including massage, visualization, relaxation, and aromatherapy. She provides encouragement and constant support throughout the entire labor and delivery to both mother AND father. A doula arms the parents with information about medical interventions, including risks and benefits, and allows them to make an informed decision.

What are the benefits of having a Doula?

There are several benefits of having a doula at your birth. These women have been shown, in published studies, to provide:

  • 50% reduction in your chance of having a cesarean
  • A 60% reduction in the use of epidural anesthesia and 30% reduction in the use of narcotics
  • A 40% reduction in the use of Pitocin (the synthetic version of oxytocin
  • A 25% reduction in the time of labor
  • A 40% reduction in the use of forceps and vacuum extraction

There is also evidence of:

  • Reduced chances of health complications and hospitalizations of baby
  • Reduced chances of maternal fever and infection
  • Reduced maternal bleeding following birth
  • Increased chances of successful breastfeeding
  • Reduced incidence of post-partum depression
  • Reduced levels of anxiety
  • Found to be superior to Lamaze
  • Result in a more positive birth experience
  • Mothers feel more in control
  • Increased chance of spontaneous vaginal birth
  • Mothers have higher regard and increased sensitivity towards babies
  • Mothers feel more secure

To Have a Doula or Not to Have a Doula?

You may wonder exactly why you would need a "Doula" or even "what" this Doula person does. Well... you may be surprised what a little help can do and what a professional who is on your side, looking out for your patient rights can accomplish.

Throughout the years women have helped each other go through birth. Given each other strength and taken care of their families and close relations. In many cases playing the role of the healer, to their families, neighbors and communities. However unfortunate, many of these ways are now lost and the woman, no matter how modern the world of birthing becomes, gets left with many unanswered questions, concerns or undisclosed choices and options. This has become so evident that even the insurance companies have begun to notice a need for change!

Although there are now several options to women who do not wish to birth at a hospital, there is still a large gap between full informed consent in almost any birth setting, but more evident in a hospital one. This is where a Doula can be invaluable helping you from everything from the beginning of pregnancy such as guidance and helping you to best chose the right medical provider for you, creating a birth plan with you and of course helping you through the birth process as your coach and patient advocate as well as continuing to protect your rights through the recovery & postpartum period at the hospital.

As well, many Doulas provide help, guidance and overnight assistant the first couple of weeks after delivery, tailoring a plan exactly to your needs. So that you and your spouse will not be on your own in a new and strange land called "the first days of parenthood".

An Advanced Doula, knows just that much more and has more experience and training than a Doula, having gone through an extensive advanced midwifery assistant program as well as a master doula training, she can help you even if you've been told that your delivery will be a "high risk" one. Or that you are C-Section bound.

So many things can be eased for the mother, so many accommodations can be made, if you have someone who is willing to work with you and is a professional at what they do, there is most certainly the chance that you will have the birth you envision. Do not hesitate to ask, if we have not covered all you were hoping a Doula or Advanced Doula does, please ask about it! It is probably something we actually DO provide, and if not, we will do everything we can to help you.

Why aren't doulas more widely used?

According to Doulas of North America, one of the biggest obstacles of doulas becoming more of an integral part of the childbirth process, is simply the lack of education among the general population, healthcare professionals, and insurance companies. As people become more aware of the differences that doulas can make, their role will become more and more prominent.